'Absolutely rammed': long queues blight Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin airports

Long weekend in UK and Ireland spark rush for overseas travel

Passengers arrive at Dublin Airport on Friday morning as about 200,000 people were set to travel through its doors at the weekend. PA
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Travel chaos at Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin airports continued on Friday, with frustrated passengers hitting out at the “horrendous” queues.

Birmingham Airport was “absolutely rammed” with people heading overseas on the second day of the long bank holiday in the UK.

There were similar scenes at Manchester Airport where weary travellers were forced to wait around for up to three hours after landing to retrieve their baggage.

The four-day weekend to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee coincides with a half-term school holiday and has sparked a surge in travel from UK airports.

The chaotic scenes at Ireland’s main airport in Dublin continued on Friday. About 200,000 people are expected to pass through its doors between Friday and Monday, a bank holiday in the republic.

Passenger Liam Casey tweeted a photo showing crowds of people waiting to drop off their luggage, and described the situation as “bedlam”.

“Do not bring luggage to check-in to @flysas at Dublin Airport today,” he warned. “Estimate 90 mins for bag drop. This is not a security problem, it’s a desk staffing problem.

“Bedlam, and nowhere near security yet.”

One woman named Amber, who was flying from Dublin to the US with her husband and toddler, tweeted that their plane was delayed by about two hours “due to passengers stuck in security”.

“Staff were run off their feet,” she said. “They must end each day exhausted, yet great attitudes all around.”

In the UK, furious passengers lambasted airports and demanded urgent action to address the extended queuing times.

The issues are caused by a sudden increase in demand for travel while airports and airlines remain in the process of recruiting enough staff before a summer surge. Thousands of personnel were laid off during the pandemic and the industry is now ill-prepared to cope with the huge numbers.

One passenger named Andrew Morton posted a photo showing a long line of people queuing in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 at 3.45am on Friday.

Another man, Sabir Ahmed, said he had to queue for an hour to drop his bag off and a further 40 minutes to pass through security.

“Flying with easyJet. At Manchester airport T1 waiting for bag drop off,” he said. “Extremely long queue. Joined around 2.50am and it has not moved at all.”

Another man named Peter took to Twitter at around 3.30am to vent his fury.

“Absolute scenes at Manchester Airport this morning,” he wrote. “Tui staff saying the queue that goes through the terminal and along most of the skywalk will only take 35 mins. We will see when we are allowed to re-join at 4am.”

Tui has slashed its services to and from Manchester by six flights a day until the end of the month. The travel company has in recent days been hit by a backlash from customers over delays and cancelled flights.

Suzanna Colley tweeted about an hour after landing at Birmingham Airport on a flight from Stockholm to say there was “no sign of baggage”. “What’s going on?” she questioned.

A fellow passenger named Jason branded the debacle a “complete joke”, saying he had been stranded on a plane for an hour after landing while staff waited for steps to arrive. “Over an hour wait for luggage,” he said.

A woman named Grace reported a similar experience on Twitter.

“Landed in Birmingham Airport and within about two minutes they told us they don’t have enough staff to bring the stairs to us and let us off,” she wrote.

Updated: June 03, 2022, 11:15 AM